Onions are the most widely cultivated vegetable in their species. Besides, they are extremely versatile and as such, they are an essential component of many culinary dishes.

You can easily grow them from baby sets.  

Growing Onions

Here’re some tips that will help in the effective growth of onion:

  • Water the plants in a dry spell
  • Feed the plants with general liquid fertiliser occasionally 
  • Prevent feeding and watering when onions start swollen in mid-summer 
  • Stop watering and feeding once the onions have swollen in mid-summer
  • Remove the weeds from onions regularly
  • Weed manually because hoeing can damage the bulbs
  • Start removing the flower stems once they start forming

Planting Onions

Traditionally, small and immature bulbs are used to grow the bulbs. You can plant them in September or from mid-March to mid-April. You can buy these bulb sets from early to late summer from online suppliers and garden centres.

  • Choose a sunny, well-drained and fertile soil for onions.
  • Make sure the soil is not acidic. The pH of the soil must be 6.5.
  • Apply well-rotted manure or garden compost before planting
  • Feed the soil with high potassium general fertiliser before planting. Add at least one handful per square metre/yard.
  • Ensure the distance of 2-4 inches between onion plants
  • Make sure rows are 10-12 inches apart
  • Push the bulb sets gently into the soil. While planting, ensure that only their tip is visible.
  • Firm the soil around the bulb and water them well.  
  • Cover the planted sets with fleece to prevent them from birds

You can grow these vegetables on open ground. However, you can also grow them in raised beds and deep containers. But there should be only one or two rows in them. It is not possible to grow the onions in growing bags.


Harvesting Onions

You can harvest the vegetables once the foliage is yellow and topple over. The best time to harvest the sets planted in September is late summer to early autumn.

Traditionally, roots are broken by gently lifting the bulbs. However, we would not suggest you this method. One recommended method for harvesting the onion is as follows:

  • Lift the bulbs before foliage starts falling off.
  • Spread the bulbs in a well-ventilated greenhouse or sun outdoors
  • Allow them to stay outdoors for at least two weeks. It will allow the onions to ripen.
  • Store the undamaged bulbs in a cool and dry place.

Common problems

White rot

It’s a fungus born in soil. It causes the foliage yellowing and wilting. Not only this, but it also causes damage to the bulb beneath the soil and rots the roots.  

Firstly, it will appear as fluffy white fungus on the bulb base. Afterwards, it turns into round and black structures.  


Onion white rot can’t be cured chemically. The best tip to avoid white rot is to prevent the transportation of cloves in contaminated soil. Moreover, you have to take special care where cross-contamination is frequent.  

Leek rust

It is also a fungal disease that results in the development of bright yellow spots on leaves. The long and wet spells can even worsen this situation.  


Leak rust doesn’t harm the plant on mild attacks. However, its leave may shrivel on severe infections. Even the yield gets reduced on severe attacks.

Here’re some tips to avoid leaky rust:

  • Don’t overcrowd the plants. It could enhance the humidity, leading to higher infections.
  • Dispose of infectious plant
  • Avoid growing the onions, leeks or garlic in the same field for three years.

Onion downy mildew

It is also a fungal disease that infects bulbs and foliage. The most common behind its spread is damp conditions.


  • Ensure plenty of light and ventilation at the planting space
  • Remove the weeds regularly
  • Don’t water overhead
  • Remove the infected leaves

Check out Epicurious for 21 recipes using this versatile vegetable.

If you want to grow onions from seed, and try out a new variety, check out the selection below. (I found the Stuttgart variety is easy to grow)

For more information or assistance with this article, or if you want to add something that you feel is relevant, we would love to hear from you via the Contact Us page.

07/12/2021 | Vegetables | 0 Comments

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